Tuesday , March 9 2021

A percentage of American teenagers is using flakka, but it could be more

"The main conclusion is that less than 1% of older adults are estimated to have used flakka last year," said Joseph Palamar, Associate Professor of Health for the Population of NYU Langone and the lead author of the study, published Tuesday afternoon, Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
The research, which said Palamar is the first national study on the consumption of flakka, analyzed the data of Monitoring the Future, an annual survey that studies the use of drugs for high school students, carried out by the # 39; Institute of Social Research of the University of Michigan.

The study found that students who said they had used Flakka the previous year, 19.2% had used more than 40 times. Those who used to be aware were more likely to live with their parents and used other medications.

"The importance is that we can draw attention to this dangerous drug at this time," Palamar said. "Finally we have prevalence estimates in a national sample, which has not yet been done."

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However, even more people could have used flakka without necessarily knowing it.

"I think a lot of people are using without realizing, especially users of ecstasy, Molly's users," he said.

Other experts agree.

"What we have found very clearly-and we know from the new world of psychoactive substance-people say they are taking something, but it does not necessarily mean that this is what we know for ecstasy," said Dan Castellanos, president from the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the International University of Florida, who did not participate in the new investigation.
In Castellanos' own research, only one of the six samples was analyzed It actually contained flakka, although users believed that this was what they were taking.

The stimulant, which Castellanos said was "the cocaine of the poor", led to 80 deaths only in Florida between September 2014 and December 2015, according to the new study. There were 2,000 visits from the emergency department related to their use in Broward County during this period; 15% were people under 25 years of age. One of the youngest, according to the research, was 13 years old.

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Flakka, also known as gravel, is in the class of new psychoactive substances, said Castellanos. Some related products are called bath salts. You can smoke, inject or blow.

"Although they are not like the salts of their tub, they seem sometimes," he said. "These are all new psychoactive substances, which means they are manufactured chemically, they import, there are several variations, there are different spikes and shoots over time."

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Flakka is also a stimulant. "It really puts a lot of people, very hectic," said Castellanos. "This includes things like stirring, effects on all typical body systems, increased blood pressure, dust, sometimes even temperature."

It was also known for the most serious reactions, including a man who broke the hurricane doors after using the drug and a woman who crossed the streets screaming that it was Satan.

"What really stands out about the flakka is the uncomfortable behavior that is sometimes related to its use," Palamar said. "It's weird, and you'll see that word, even in medical journals, because there's no other way to describe".

Although not all people who use the medication have these reactions, Palamar still warned of its use.

"This is one thing to know: it does not have this effect on who uses it," he said. "It's a very dangerous drug, it's a very powerful drug. It's as powerful as methamphetamine."

Journalist Carina Storrs has contributed to this report.

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